We will not be cheerleaders
I was 4 years old when I was called a ladyboy for the first time. I didn’t even know what gender was. I still don’t know. The reason that I don’t know is simple: It’s because there is no answer, just fucked up perceptions due to fucked up normative socialization. However there is a hell of a lot of people who think they know the right answer and are hell-bent on telling me that I simply do not fit in. That I am incorrect.
Being a femme and being somebody people percieve as ”actually being a boy” means fighting a battle on all fronts. I am a faggot. I am a tranny. I am an ”I can’t tell if that is a boy or a girl?” Actually, I am happy to be all these things. But I do not like it when they are spoken to me as if they were a threat. On the way home from a club in heels I mind macho-men as if they were mines in battle-fields. I don’t want to, but I know all too well, from experience, that I must. A few times however I have had the priviledge of hearing straight men scream: ”Oh my GOOOOOOOD, I THOUGHT THAT WAS A GIRL. I GOT TURNED ON”. My middle finger is fully functioning and is the only thing that gets ”turned on” by these types of comments.
Big fans of second wave feminist theory (most of them white, hetero cis-women) still have the nerve to fucking call me ”priviledged as a man”, thereby ignoring that I don’t define as male and am never percieved as a heterosexual dude. I’m more used to heterosexual dudes trying to beat me up, harass me and/or being afraid of me/uncomfortable by my presence than trying to bond with me. The situations where I experience male-priviledge are not non-existent, but they are few and very far between.
Being a femme faggot/genderqueer doesn’t only mean facing discrimination on the streets. It’s also at non-hetero clubs. The political queer world is getting better, but still has a lot to learn. As long as femme is seen as not as good as butch we quite obviously have not dismantled patriarchy. However, even if the queer world still has many issues to work through, it is nothing compared to the mainstream gay world (And do not even get me started on the straight world!)
When I was around 20 I went out to a lot of gay clubs. Being categorized as a ”hot young feminine twink” (objectifying lookism) meant that I had to count on being treated like a piece of meat and getting my ass unconsentually squeezed ATLEAST once a night. Being the person I am, I of course yelled at them and told them to fuck off. One night an older gay man told me he wanted to take me under his wings and tell me everything about the gay world. He pointed to this masculine stud-like guy and was like ”You’re about as good-looking as him, but you will NEVER obtain his status or be as sought-after as him, because he is masculine and straight-acting and you’re feminine and fagotty”.
And because I was femme boys just kept on getting the wrong perception of me. I was supposed to be quiet, passive, submissive, nice and all these things (or if I had an attitude, be sassy, apolitical and just into partying), when in reality I was none of these things. My relationship pattern seemed to be a carbon copy of Courtney Love’s description of Kat Bjelland’s: ”80 percent of the boys she likes are super-scared of big loud girls with presence and they like girls who are like what they think Kat is, which means 80 percent of her boyfriends only like her because they think she’s soft and cute and not clever or hard or flipped-out at all, which is why she PLOWS through them.” In general boys have not found it attractive that I’m a ”Proud Graduate of The Courtney Love School of Charm.”
And it’s like, okay I didn’t enjoy plowing through boys like a bulldozer, but instead of forcing myself to change I have become very selective. Cuz I’m not gonna change or say I’m sorry for living in a deeply patriarchal society where you code my femininity as being weak, pretty AND pretty stupid, and last but not least as ”My body is up for grabs.” Instead I’m gonna put on my dress and give you the loudest most guttural scream in the deepest voice you can imagine. Or put on a business suit and act like a valley girl. A pretty powerful valley girl. An intelligent valley girl. A valley girl who’s fucking intelligent even when wearing a short skirt, heels and a ton of make-up – thank you very much.
I think the things that I stated above should be blatantly obvious. But in todays society, they are not. It’s fucking annoying. We sure as hell have a reason to fight. Abuse of power does not come as a suprise. So, I try not to let anyone have power over me and try to not have power over anyone else. I wish for it to be this way both on a micro-between people-level and on a macro-system-level (anarchism).
We have loads of work to do. We’re busy dismantling the power of masculinity – the business suit, the greyness, the ”I would never fuck a guy, but when it comes to everything other than sex all I like is other dudes”, the leather boots, the deep voice, the man-size no need to shout = Intelligence = Power = the person with all the answers and also the one with all the insightful questions that he asks only to the other men who also have all the right answers.
And the rest of us are expected to sit in the background like cheerleaders singing along: What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man, what a mighty mighty good man…
But we will not. Instead we will go home and masturbate all night and we will not be thinking about him.
Alexander Alvina Chamberland
PS A message to Lady Gaga: I was not born this way. The reason I’m really good at walking in stilettos and efortlessly jumping up on tables is simply because I’ve studied Catwoman and other cats since I was five.